Strategically placed on the day preceding the festival, this one-day conference was the first of what promises to be an annual addition to the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.
Aimed at the already existing audience of jazz musicians, promoters, educators and management, it was designed to encourage effective discussion, offer networking opportunities, and by paying specific attention to realizing the economic benefits of the music industry, it hoped to serve as a forum for the way forward.
While this dry explanation seems to sum-up the dullness of similar events, this one was surprisingly inspiring.
Devoid of political agendas, and PC-selected representatives, it brought together genuinely dedicated players, and sparked a sense of long sought-after solidarity.
The morning began with a short, but potent introduction by Rashid Lombard [CEO, esp Afrika and Festival Director, Cape Town International Jazz Festival], and was followed by 2 plenary sessions.
These explored the economic and investment potential of SA music; the role of music industry organizations both locally and internationally, and discussed the possibility of establishing a national jazz forum.
Active in these sessions were the likes of our Arts and Culture Minister, Dr Pallo Jordan, alongside Business Arts SA’s, Nicola Danby and, representing Independent Record Companies, was Irfaan Gillan.
The innovative cultural executive, Mandla Langa was also there, as were Nick Motsatse, and SA Tourisms, Moeketsi Mosola.
The concern and commitment continued into the afternoon’s sessions, which were more interactive, with 2 groups of panelists addressing issues like increasing opportunities for ‘live’ performances and expanding listenership.
This was the first industry conference I actually enjoyed – it was truly encouraging to experience the collective passion, and with more of this kind of constructive communication, we might at last be able to realize the potential of our rich musical resources.